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Cornel West Puts Obama In Proper Perspective!.....
AMY GOODMAN: In the aftermath of the Zimmerman verdict and the mass protests around the country, we turn right now to Dr. Cornel West, professor at Union Theological Seminary, author of numerous books, co-host of the radio show Smiley & West with Tavis Smiley. Together, they wrote the book The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto, among Cornel West's other books.
Professor Cornel West
CORNEL WEST: Yes, yes.
AMY GOODMAN: President Obama surprised not only the press room at the White House, but the nation, I think, on Friday, in his first public remarks following the George Zimmerman acquittal. What are your thoughts?
CORNEL WEST: Well, the first thing, I think we have to acknowledge that President Obama has very little moral authority at this point, because we know anybody who tries to rationalize the killing of innocent peoples, a criminalGeorge Zimmerman is a criminalbut President Obama is a global George Zimmerman, because he tries to rationalize the killing of innocent children, 221 so far, in the name of self-defense, so that there's actually parallels here.
CORNEL WEST: In Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen. So when he comes to talk about the killing of an innocent person, you say, "Well, wait a minute. What kind of moral authority are you bringing? You've got $2 million bounty on Sister Assata Shakur. She's innocent, but you are pressing that intentionally. Will you press for the justice of Trayvon Martin in the same way you press for the prosecution of Brother Bradley Manning and Brother Edward Snowden?" So you begin to see the hypocrisy.
Then he tells stories about racial profiling. They're moving, sentimental stories, what Brother Kendall Thomas called racial moralism, very sentimental. But then, Ray Kelly, major candidate for Department of Homeland Security, he's the poster child of racial profiling. You know, Brother Carl Dix and many of us went to jail under Ray Kelly. Why? Because he racially profiled millions of young black and brown brothers. So, on the one hand, you get these stories, sentimental
AMY GOODMAN: Ray Kelly, the former police chief of New York City.
CORNEL WEST: That's right. And yet, you get the bringing into his circle
AMY GOODMAN: The current one, yeah.
CORNEL WEST: And, in fact, he even says Ray Kelly expresses his values, Ray Kelly is a magnificent police commissioner. How are you going to say that when the brother is reinforcing stop and frisk? So the contradictions become so overwhelming here.
AMY GOODMAN: But President Obama, speaking about his own life experience, going from saying, "Trayvon Martin could have been my child," to "Trayvon Martin could have been me"?
CORNEL WEST: Well, no, that's beautiful. That's an identification. The question is: Will that identification hide and conceal the fact there's a criminal justice system in place that has nearly destroyed two generations of very precious, poor black and brown brothers? He hasn't said a mumbling word until now. Five years in office and can't say a word about the new Jim Crow.
And at the same time, I think we have to recognize that he has been able to hide and conceal that criminalizing of the black poor as what I call the re-niggerizing of the black professional class. You've got these black leaders on the Obama plantation, won't say a criminal word about the master in the big house, will only try to tame the field folk so that they're not critical of the master in the big house. That's why I think even Brother Sharpton is going to be in trouble. Why? Because he has unleashedand I agree with himthe rage. And the rage is always on the road to self-determination. But the rage is going to hit up against a stone wall. Why? Because Obama and Holder, will they come through at the federal level for Trayvon Martin? We hope so. Don't hold your breath. And when they don't, they're going to have to somehow contain that rage. And in containing that rage, there's going to be many people who say, "No, we see, this president is not serious about the criminalizing of poor people." We've got a black leadership that is deferential to Obama, that is subservient to Obama, and that's what niggerizing is. You keep folks so scared. You keep folks so intimidated. You can give them money, access, but they're still scared. And as long as you're scared, you're on the plantation.
AMY GOODMAN: Let's talk about that issue of the civil rights charges.
AMY GOODMAN: During his remarks on Friday in the White House press room, President Obama addressed the calls for the Justice Department to file civil rights charges against George Zimmerman.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I know that Eric Holder is reviewing what happened down there, but I think it's important for people to have some clear expectations here. Traditionally, these are issues of state and local government, the criminal code. And law enforcement is traditionally done at the state and local levels, not at the federal levels.
AMY GOODMAN: That's President Obama.
CORNEL WEST: And that's not true.
AMY GOODMAN: Professor Cornel West?
CORNEL WEST: That was him saying, "Keep your expectations low. Sharpton, don't get them too fired up. Keep the rage contained." We know, when it comes to the history of the vicious legacy of white supremacy in America, if the federal government did not move, we would still be locked into state's rights. And state's rights is always a code word for controlling, subjugating black folk. That's the history of the black struggle, you see. So what he was saying was: Don't expect federal action. Well, Sharpton is going to be in trouble. Marc Morial, two brothers, they're going to be in trouble.
AMY GOODMAN: Urban League.
CORNEL WEST: The Urban League, absolutely. Ben JealousGod bless the brotherhe's going to be in trouble. He's getting folk riled up to hit up against this stone wall. The next thing, they'll be talking about, "Well, maybe we ought to shift to gun control." No, we're talking about legacy of the white supremacy. We're talking about a criminal justice system that is criminal when it comes to mistreating poor people across the board, black and brown especially. And let us tell the truth and get off this Obama plantation and say, "You know what? We're dealing with criminality in high places, criminality in these low places, and let's expose the hypocrisy, expose the mendacity, and be true to the legacy of Martin." You know there's going to be a march in August, right? And the irony isthe sad irony is
AMY GOODMAN: This is the march of thehonoring the 50th anniversary
CORNEL WEST: The 50th anniversary.
AMY GOODMAN: of the "I Have a Dream" speech.
CORNEL WEST: And you know what the irony is, Sister Amy? Brother Martin would not be invited to the very march in his name, because he would talk about drones. He'd talk about Wall Street criminality. He would talk about working class being pushed to the margins as profits went up for corporate executives in their compensation. He would talk about the legacies of white supremacy. Do you think anybody at that march will talk about drones and the drone president? Will you think anybody at that march will talk about the connection to Wall Street? They are all on the plantation.
AMY GOODMAN: Are you invited?
CORNEL WEST: Well, can you imagine? Good God, no. I mean, I pray for him, because I'm for liberal reform. But liberal reform is too narrow, is too truncated. And, of course, the two-party system is dying, and therefore it doesn't have the capacity to speak to these kinds of issues. So, no, not at all.
AMY GOODMAN: So you're saying that President Obama should not only say, "I could have been Trayvon Martin," but "I could have been, for example, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki," the 16-year-old son
AMY GOODMAN: of Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in a drone strike.
CORNEL WEST: Or the name of those 221 others, precious children, who arewho were as precious as the white brothers and sisters in Newtown that he cried tears for. Those in Indian reservations, those in Chinatown, Koreatown, those in brown barrios, each child is precious. That is a moral absolute, it seems to me we ought to embrace. And if that's true, then we've got monstrous mendacity, hyper hypocrisy and pervasive criminality in high places. That's why Brother Snowden and Brother Manning are the John Browns of our day, and the Glenn Greenwalds and the Chris Hedges and Glen Fords and Bruce Dixons and Margaret Kimberleys and Nellie Baileys are the William Lloyd Garrisons of our day, when we talk about the national security state.
AMY GOODMAN: Clearly, the power of the personal representation is what grabbed people on Friday.
CORNEL WEST: Absolutely.
AMY GOODMAN: You also had Attorney General Eric Holder doing the same thing
CORNEL WEST: The same thing.
AMY GOODMAN: when he was speaking at the NAACP convention on Tuesday. Holder drew parallels between his own experience as an African-American male and those of Trayvon Martin, when he recalled times in his life when he was racially profiled.
ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER: The news of Trayvon Martin's death last year and the discussions that have taken place since then reminded me of my father's words so many years ago. And they brought me back to a number of experiences that I had as a young manwhen I was pulled over twice and my car searched on the New Jersey Turnpike, when I'm sure I wasn't speeding, or when I was stopped by a police officer while simply running to catch a movie at night in Georgetown in Washington, D.C. I was, at the time of that last incident, a federal prosecutor.
Trayvon's death last spring caused me to sit down to have a conversation with my own 15-year-old son, like my dad did with me. This was a father-son tradition I hoped would not need to be handed down. But as a father who loves his son and who is more knowing in the ways of the world, I had to do this to protect my boy. I am his father, and it is my responsibility, not to burden him with the baggage of eras long gone, but to make him aware of the world that he must still confront. Thisthis is a sad reality in a nation that is changing for the better in so many ways.
AMY GOODMAN: That's U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. They're the ones, in the Justice Department, who are deciding whether or not to bring civil rights violations, criminal charges against George Zimmerman, who was acquitted in the Trayvon Martin killing. Professor Cornel West?
CORNEL WEST: And, no, there's no doubt that the vicious legacy of white supremacy affects the black upper classes, it affects the black middle classes. But those kinds of stories hide and conceal just how ugly and intensely vicious it is for black poor, brown poor. And so you end up with, if that's the case, why hasn't the new Jim Crow been a priority in the Obama administration? Why has not the new Jim Crow been a priority for Eric Holder? If what they're saying is something they feel deeply, if what they're saying is that they'rethemselves and their children have the same status as Brother Jamal and Sister Latisha and Brother Ray Ray and Sister Jarell, then why has that not been a center part of what they do to ensure there's fairness and justice?
Well, the reason is political. Well, we don't want to identify with black folk, because a black president can't get too close to black folk, because Fox News, with their reactionary self in oftin so many instances, will attack them, and that becomes the point of reference? No. If they're going to be part of the legacy of Martin King, Fannie Lou Hamer and Ella Baker and the others, then the truth and justice stuff that you pursue, you don't care who is coming at you. But, no, this black liberal class has proven itself to be too morally bankrupt, too hypocritical, and indifferent to criminalityWall Street criminality, no serious talk about enforcement of torturers and wiretappers under the Bush administration. Why? Because they don't want the subsequent administration to take them to jail. Any reference to the hunger strike of our brothers out in California and other places, dealing with torture? Sustained solitary confinement is a form of torture. And we won't even talk about Guantánamo. Force-feeding, torture in its coredidn't our dear brother Yasiin Bey point that out, the former Mos Def? God bless that brother. Jay-Z got something to learn from Mos Def. Both of them lyrical geniuses, but Jay-Z got a whole lot to learn from Mos Def.
AMY GOODMAN: Explain that. Yasiin Bey actually underwent
CORNEL WEST: That's right.
AMY GOODMAN: force-feeding
CORNEL WEST: Yes, he did.
AMY GOODMAN: to see how it felt, and broke down and started screaming "Stop! Stop!" in the middle of it, and it was a videotape that went viral.
CORNEL WEST: And it happens twice a day for those precious brothers in Guantánamo Bay. And, of course, that's under Bush. People say, "That's under Bush." OK, Bush was the capture-and-torture president. Now we've got the targeted killing president, the drone president. That's not progress. That's not part of the legacy of Martin King. That's not part of the legacy of especially somebody like a Dorothy Day and others who I think ought to be at the center of what we're all about, you see.
AMY GOODMAN: Let me turn to another clip. Near the end of his speech on Friday, President Obama said the nation should be doing a better job helping young African-American men feel that they are a fuller part of society. I want to play that clip in a moment, but how would you do this?
CORNEL WEST: Well, when I heard that, I said to myself, "Lord, he came to the York City and said Michael Bloomberg was a terrific mayor." Well, this is the same mayor who, again, nearly four-and-a-half million folk have been stopped and frisked. What's terrific about that, if you're concerned about black boys being part of society? No, no, I would say we're going to have to talk seriously about massive employment programs; high-quality public education, not the privatizing of education; dealing with gentrification and the land grab that's been taking place, ensuring that young black boysand I want to include all poor boys, but I'll begin on the chocolate side of town, there's no doubt about thatthat ought to have access a sense of self-respect and self-determination, not just through education and jobs, but through the unleashing of their imagination, more arts programs in the educational system. They've been eliminated, you see. Those are the kind of things, hardly ever talked about. But, oh, we can only talk about transpartnerships in terms of global training for capital and multinational corporations and big banks. That's been the priority, the Wall Street-friendly and the corporate-friendly policies that I think are deeply upsetting for somebody like myself vis-à-vis the Obama administration.
AMY GOODMAN: This is what President Obama said Friday.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We need to spend some time in thinking about how do we bolster and reinforce our African-American boys. And this is something that Michelle and I talk a lot about. There are a lot of kids out there who need help, who are getting a lot of negative reinforcement. And is there more that we can do to give them a sense that their country cares about them and values them and is willing to invest in them?
You know, I'm not naïve about the prospects of some grand, new federal program. I'm not sure that that's what we're talking about here. But I do recognize that, as president, I've got some convening power, and there are a lot of good programs that are being done across the country on this front. And for us to be able to gather together business leaders and local elected officials and clergy and celebrities and athletes, and figure out how are we doing a better job helping young African-American men feel that they're a full part of this society and that they've got pathways and avenues to succeed, I think that would be a pretty good outcome from what was obviously a tragic situation. And we're going to spend some time working on that.
AMY GOODMAN: Cornel West?
CORNEL WEST: Yeah, you see, if you're concerned about poor black brothers, then you make it a priority. It's the first time he spoke publicly about this in five years, so it's clear it's not a priority. When he went down to Morehouse, it was more scolding: "No excuses." Went to NAACP before, "Quit whining." No, we're wailing, we're not whining. So, to say to the country, "Well, we need to talk about caring," well, you've got to be able to enact that, you see. And for those of us who spend a lot of time in prisons, those of us at Boys Clubs, all the magnificent work that various churches and civic institutions do in the black communityand it cuts across race, of course; you've got a lot of white brothers and sisters and brown and others who are there, as wellthe question is: Since when has it been a priority in this administration at all? So that that language begins to ring very, very hollow. Because he's right: We've got to love, we've got to care for our poor brothers and sisters, and especially our black and brown brothers and sisters, because they're lost, they're confused, they're desperate, they're unemployed, they're too uneducated, and they turn on each other, because when you criminalize poor people and criminalize poor black people, we turn on each other. There's no doubt about that. Can you imagine if the creativity and intelligence that goes into turning on each other is turned on the systemnot any individual, but the system itself, the unfair systemand tries to undercut the criminality of our criminal justice system to make it fair and to make it just?
AMY GOODMAN: You mentioned stop and frisk under Ray Kelly, who is being considered for head of Department of Homeland Security, and under Mayor Bloomberg
CORNEL WEST: That's right.
AMY GOODMAN: 700,000 stops and frisks in New York City. It's now on trial, in court, vastly, overwhelming, of young African-American mainly young men, some young womenthe vast majority do not get arrested, but they
CORNEL WEST: That's right.
AMY GOODMAN: have these endless encounters with the authorities.
CORNEL WEST: Absolutely. And I just never forget Brother Carl Dix and others, right when we were onwe had a week-long trial and had a guilty verdict. But during that week
AMY GOODMAN: When you were protesting and you got arrested.
CORNEL WEST: After we protested and went to jail and then went to court and washad a guilty verdict, right? That week, the president came to New York and said, "Edward Koch was one of the great mayors in the last 50 years," and then said, "Michael Bloomberg was a terrific mayor." Now, this is the same person saying we've got to care for black boys, and black boys are being intimidated, harassed, humiliated, 1,800 a day. It's just not a matter of pretty words, Mr. President. You've got to follow through in action. You see, you can't use the words to hide and conceal your mendacity, hypocrisy and the support of criminalityor enactment of criminality when it comes to drones, you see.
And the sad thing is, Sister Amy, is that we just don't have enough free people, let alone free black people. Black people, we settled for so little, so we get a little symbolic gesture, we get a little identification, and like on MSNBC, which is part of the Obama plantation, they start breakdancing again: "Oh, isn't it so wonderful? He's really one of us. We can now wave the flag again. We can now support our mindless Americanism," in the language of my dear brother Maulana Karenga, intellectual that he is. No. We ought to be over against injustice, no matter what, across the board, and be vigilant about it. I don't care what color the president or the governor or the mayor is.
AMY GOODMAN: Let's talk about Stand Your Ground for a minute. You know, Stevie Wonder now says he won't play in any state that has Stand Your Ground.
CORNEL WEST: Yeah, that's a beautiful thing, a beautiful thing.
AMY GOODMAN: President Obama addressed the issue of the Stand Your Ground law in Florida, the law allowing people fearing for their lives to use deadly force without retreating from a confrontation.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I know that there's been commentary about the fact that the Stand Your Ground laws in Florida were not used as a defense in the case. On the other hand, if we're sending a message as a society in our communities that someone who is armed potentially has the right to use those firearms, even if there's a way for them to exit from a situation, is that really going to be contributing to the kind of peace and security and order that we'd like to see?
And for those who resist that idea that we should think about something like these Stand Your Ground laws, I'd just ask people to consider, if Trayvon Martin was of age and armed, could he have stood his ground on that sidewalk? And do we actually think that he would have been justified in shooting Mr. Zimmerman, who had followed him in a car, because he felt threatened? And if the answer to that question is at least ambiguous, then it seems to me that we might want to examine those kinds of laws.
AMY GOODMAN: That's President Obama speaking on Friday. Cornel West?
CORNEL WEST: Well, I certainly agree with him that we ought to fight Stand Your Ground laws, but we've got to keep in mind Stand Your Ground laws are part of the legacy of the slave patrol, which is to say it's primarily white brothers and sisters armed to keep black people under control. And I come from Sacramento, California. I remember when the Black Panther Party walked into the Capitol with their guns. Now, you noticed at that moment, all of a sudden people were very much for gun control, even the right wing. Why? Because the Panthers were saying, "Well, let's just arm all the black folk to make sure they stand their ground." Oh, Lord. That's such a challenge. Now, see, you know, as a Christian and trying to be part of the legacy of Martin, you see, I don't want people armed across the board. I do believe in self-defense, just like I believe in self-respect and self-determination, but I don't want people armed. So it's very clear there's a class and a racial bias in these laws, and therefore we ought to fight these laws. There's no doubt about it. But we have to be very honest and candid about the hypocrisy operating when we talk about these things.
AMY GOODMAN: It was rather chilling to hear both Robert Zimmerman, George Zimmerman's brother, and also Mark O'Mara, the attorney for George Zimmerman, talking about howthe fact that George Zimmerman is supposed to get his gun back, that he needs it more than ever, because he's targeted, because he's afraid. What is more frightening than a frightened George Zimmerman with a gun?
CORNEL WEST: No, it's true. But it'sI mean, when you let criminals off, they feelthey feel as if their criminality has been affirmed, and therefore they want to be able to continue to act as if theythe business is as usual, back to business as usual.
AMY GOODMAN: Cornel, as we wrap up this segment, I'd like you you to stay for the next segment about
CORNEL WEST: Sure, sure.
AMY GOODMAN: Howard Zinn's books in Indiana. If you were invited to speak at the 50th anniversary celebration of the "I Have a Dream" speech, the March on WashingtonAugust 28th, 1963, is when it happened, 50 years agowhat would you say? Give us a few minutes.
CORNEL WEST: I would say we must never tame Martin Luther King Jr. or Fannie Lou Hamer or Ella Baker or Stokely Carmichael. They were unbossed. They were unbought. That Martin was talking about a beloved community, which meant that it subverts any plantationBush's plantation, Clinton's plantation, Obama's plantationand the social forces behind those plantations, which have to do with Wall Street, have to do with multinational corporations. And we're going to focus on poor people. We're going to focus on working people across the board. We're going to talk about the connection between drones, which is a form ofa form of crimes against humanity outside the national borders. We're going to talk about Wall Street criminality. We're going to talk about how we ensure that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters have their dignity affirmed. We're going to talk about the children.
Martin Luther King Jr. was a free black man. He was a Jesus-loving free black man. Will the connection between drones, new Jim Crow, prison-industrial complex, attacks on the working class, escalating profits at the top, be talked about and brought together during that march? I don't hold my breath. But Brother Martin's spirit would want somebody to push it. And that's part of his connection to Malcolm X. That's part of his connection to so many of the great freedom fighters that go all the way back to the first slave who stepped on these decrepit shores.
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
Cornel West sez:

Quote:We've got a black leadership that is deferential to Obama, that is subservient to Obama, and that's what niggerizing is. You keep folks so scared. You keep folks so intimidated. You can give them money, access, but they're still scared. And as long as you're scared, you're on the plantation.

Who said eloquence in the service of deep political truth is dead?
"It means this War was never political at all, the politics was all theatre, all just to keep the people distracted...."
"Proverbs for Paranoids 4: You hide, They seek."
"They are in Love. Fuck the War."

Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon

"Ccollanan Pachacamac ricuy auccacunac yahuarniy hichascancuta."
The last words of the last Inka, Tupac Amaru, led to the gallows by men of god & dogs of war
Dr. West describes himself as a "revolutionary Christian."

I describe him as the most courageous, eloquent, powerful speaker of the truth to emerge from North America since Martin Luther King, Jr.

The martyr Óscar Romero, assassinated Archbishop of San Salvador, is remembered as a liberation theologian.

George Michael Evica and Howard Zinn were self-described radical historians.

I hope that, in the fullness of time, I can define myself honestly and humbly as a revolutionary pacifist.

Viva pace et sedetioso.
Charles Drago Wrote:Dr. West describes himself as a "revolutionary Christian."

I describe him as the most courageous, eloquent, powerful speaker of the truth to emerge from North America since Martin Luther King, Jr.

The martyr Óscar Romero, assassinated Archbishop of San Salvador, is remembered as a liberation theologian.

George Michael Evica and Howard Zinn were self-described radical historians.

I hope that, in the fullness of time, I can define myself honestly and humbly as a revolutionary pacifist.

Viva pace et sedetioso.

Amen to that.

And to a pantheon of the fearless.
"It means this War was never political at all, the politics was all theatre, all just to keep the people distracted...."
"Proverbs for Paranoids 4: You hide, They seek."
"They are in Love. Fuck the War."

Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon

"Ccollanan Pachacamac ricuy auccacunac yahuarniy hichascancuta."
The last words of the last Inka, Tupac Amaru, led to the gallows by men of god & dogs of war
Agreed. Cornel West is up there in the rare Pantheon of great and moral analysts/thinkers/speakers of unflinching truth to Power - very much in the tradition of MLK. I love to hear him speak. He has a broad sense of history and keen way of getting to the very basis of a matter or person. He's got Obama's 'number' and he's got most everything analyzed correctly, IMHO. Sadly, he is not as well known, even in the Black Community, as was MLK - but perhaps this will spare his life. One can find his official website here. It would be a very different Nation if Dr. West were President, rather than Obama [or any other President I can think of].....but he'd not last more than a few microseconds before the Unspeakable 'took care of' him, sadly. Anyway, he is too moral to be soiled by being in Politics proper, and best at doing his hard-hitting critique of what passes for it in the Empire and the Plantation from a modest distance.

An op-ed from West of two years ago....

Dr. King Weeps From His Grave

[Image: 26oped-art-articleLarge.jpg]


Published: August 25, 2011

Princeton, N.J.

THE Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial was to be dedicated on the National Mall on Sunday exactly 56 years after the murder of Emmett Till in Mississippi and 48 years after the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. (Because of Hurricane Irene, the ceremony has been postponed.)

These events constitute major milestones in the turbulent history of race and democracy in America, and the undeniable success of the civil rights movement culminating in the election of Barack Obama in 2008 warrants our attention and elation. Yet the prophetic words of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel still haunt us: "The whole future of America depends on the impact and influence of Dr. King."
Rabbi Heschel spoke those words during the last years of King's life, when 72 percent of whites and 55 percent of blacks disapproved of King's opposition to the Vietnam War and his efforts to eradicate poverty in America. King's dream of a more democratic America had become, in his words, "a nightmare," owing to the persistence of "racism, poverty, militarism and materialism." He called America a "sick society." On the Sunday after his assassination, in 1968, he was to have preached a sermon titled "Why America May Go to Hell."
King did not think that America ought to go to hell, but rather that it might go to hell owing to its economic injustice, cultural decay and political paralysis. He was not an American Gibbon, chronicling the decline and fall of the American empire, but a courageous and visionary Christian blues man, fighting with style and love in the face of the four catastrophes he identified.
Militarism is an imperial catastrophe that has produced a military-industrial complex and national security state and warped the country's priorities and stature (as with the immoral drones, dropping bombs on innocent civilians). Materialism is a spiritual catastrophe, promoted by a corporate media multiplex and a culture industry that have hardened the hearts of hard-core consumers and coarsened the consciences of would-be citizens. Clever gimmicks of mass distraction yield a cheap soulcraft of addicted and self-medicated narcissists.
Racism is a moral catastrophe, most graphically seen in the prison industrial complex and targeted police surveillance in black and brown ghettos rendered invisible in public discourse. Arbitrary uses of the law in the name of the "war" on drugs have produced, in the legal scholar Michelle Alexander's apt phrase, a new Jim Crow of mass incarceration. And poverty is an economic catastrophe, inseparable from the power of greedy oligarchs and avaricious plutocrats indifferent to the misery of poor children, elderly citizens and working people.
The age of Obama has fallen tragically short of fulfilling King's prophetic legacy. Instead of articulating a radical democratic vision and fighting for homeowners, workers and poor people in the form of mortgage relief, jobs and investment in education, infrastructure and housing, the administration gave us bailouts for banks, record profits for Wall Street and giant budget cuts on the backs of the vulnerable.
As the talk show host Tavis Smiley and I have said in our national tour against poverty, the recent budget deal is only the latest phase of a 30-year, top-down, one-sided war against the poor and working people in the name of a morally bankrupt policy of deregulating markets, lowering taxes and cutting spending for those already socially neglected and economically abandoned. Our two main political parties, each beholden to big money, offer merely alternative versions of oligarchic rule.
The absence of a King-worthy narrative to reinvigorate poor and working people has enabled right-wing populists to seize the moment with credible claims about government corruption and ridiculous claims about tax cuts' stimulating growth. This right-wing threat is a catastrophic response to King's four catastrophes; its agenda would lead to hellish conditions for most Americans.
King weeps from his grave. He never confused substance with symbolism. He never conflated a flesh and blood sacrifice with a stone and mortar edifice. We rightly celebrate his substance and sacrifice because he loved us all so deeply. Let us not remain satisfied with symbolism because we too often fear the challenge he embraced. Our greatest writer, Herman Melville, who spent his life in love with America even as he was our most fierce critic of the myth of American exceptionalism, noted, "Truth uncompromisingly told will always have its ragged edges; hence the conclusion of such a narration is apt to be less finished than an architectural finial."
King's response to our crisis can be put in one word: revolution. A revolution in our priorities, a re-evaluation of our values, a reinvigoration of our public life and a fundamental transformation of our way of thinking and living that promotes a transfer of power from oligarchs and plutocrats to everyday people and ordinary citizens.
In concrete terms, this means support for progressive politicians like Senator Bernard Sanders of Vermont and Mark Ridley-Thomas, a Los Angeles County supervisor; extensive community and media organizing; civil disobedience; and life and death confrontations with the powers that be. Like King, we need to put on our cemetery clothes and be coffin-ready for the next great democratic battle

"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
I was video introduced to Dr. West on Tavis Smiley's PBS show.
A difficult man to forget.
When finding truth it stands out from common experience most especially when watching TV and broadcast TV at that.

On the same show but a different episode Judge Joe Brown was clear and sharp on the MLK ballistics and his dismissal from the MLK court case.
I had the same feeling about the Judge as I did when seeing Dr. West.
I had read the intro to DiEugenio's and Pease's "The Assassinations" by Judge Brown.

I should not have been surprised when I saw Dr. West and Tavis Smiley in a concert video John Mellencamp did a while back.
But I was...

Therefore I must conclude the 'leaders' are not all of past days.
As when RFK Jr. broke clear of the MSM, leadership is here and now too.
Read not to contradict and confute;
nor to believe and take for granted;
nor to find talk and discourse;
but to weigh and consider.
Dr. King would find in Chicago's Cornel West Side Story an American tragedy

in the New York abortion of black babies a key factor in the slide to hell

would have called out dba Obama King of Drones, called him down

Dr. King was felled with Marrell McCullough the Judas copmilint whispering in the Forum where the acoustic waves converge

would've et tu Jesse in whose house Michelle "grew up"

The new riff from the al-Shabazz tenor sax master blaster (by any means possible) is a sour note now

Martha's Vinyard? And all that, and all that

Trayvon was No More Mister Nice Guy but dba Barry threw Wright under one of the two Canadian buses, Le Rouge et Le Noir (affectation, street cred, just a pose)

Dr. King had a conscience which was trampling out the vinyards where the grapes of wrath were stored--not Martha's 40-car convoy to a bookstore

Malcolm was a solar furnace of becoming, Dr. King a moral juggernaut--dba Artist Formerly Known as Obama is a pet chameleon

In a weak horse, strong horse scenario, "Obama" doesn't even show

When Turkey buys the Chinese HQ-9 over the Raytheon and Lockheed Martin Patriot there will be repercussions

When China continues to extinguish Muslim culture there will be repercussions

Malcolm's daughter once said she saw her father in dba "Obama"

Cornel West would fall out of his chair at that

It is to laugh


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Read not to contradict and confute;
nor to believe and take for granted;
nor to find talk and discourse;
but to weigh and consider.

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